The theoretical framework concept is directly related to research and, therefore, to science. It is understood as the set of ideas, procedures and theories that serve a researcher to carry out his/her activity. It can be said that the theoretical framework establishes the basic coordinates from which a specific discipline is investigated .
The role in research
To research a subject we need something more than the simple observation of certain facts, consequently, we need hypotheses, a methodology, a theory of justification. All this we call a theoretical framework. In other words, it is an acting guide.
How to Build a Theoretical Framework for a Research Paper
Let’s imagine that we are in the circumstance of carrying out a research project. First of all, we must know what has been previously published on the subject in question. On the other hand, it is necessary to be familiar with the specific terminology. Finally, it is necessary for the researcher to frame his activity within a general scientific paradigm or model.
From these arguments we can build a general theoretical framework with the following elements:
– Description of the problem that will be researched;
– Adoption of a theoretical perspective to explain what, how, when and why a phenomenon occurs;
– Establishment of general and specific goals;
– Choice of a methodology (each scientific activity needs a specific method , as an archaeological research is not the same as a biological one).
General considerations by way of conclusion
The theoretical framework answers two fundamental questions: what is researched and what will it be researched for. At the same time, the theoretical framework implies taking a certain posture in relation to the object of study (for example, a research is usually located within a scientific current or another).
It has a close relationship with the idea of methodology and theory
The theoretical framework is a way of understanding and interpreting reality through a series of concepts that function as supposed theorists that enable the research process.
Some scholars of the concept consider that within a theoretical framework there are different levels of abstraction ranging from general to particular (the scientific paradigm that serves as a model, the general theory of the topic to be addressed, the various substantive theories, the theoretical propositions and , finally, the empirical regularities).
Certain proposals are connected with quantitative methodologies, while others have a greater affinity with qualitative methodologies. In this sense, a quantitative methodology uses experimental methods through data collection techniques (for example, the use of questionnaires in a sociological study). In a qualitative methodology (for example, the ethnographic analysis of a social group ) works of interpretive analysis are carried out (for example, a series of interviews with individuals from an ethnic group).